Wednesday, July 31, 2013

#53 session

I am excite!

Things are a movin'.  The light tube exercise doesn't seem particularly different from the previous days. I'm continually refining the fudging method.  It's very similar to weightlifting.  You try to give yourself as big of a stimulus as possible.  The best results are gained not via pumping through as many pull-ups as possible, but rather, to give the muscles the greatest possible stimulus.  This means that you should do pull-ups slowly.  Slowly pull yourself up, and slowly let yourself back down.  Correspondingly, when you fudge, you do it slowly.  Make both of the image sharp, and slowly pull the lazy-eye image closer to the fixing-eye image.  Keep the focusing pressure on the lazy-eye image, and slowly bring it closer, and back it off.  Bring it closer, slowly.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

I don't do this continuously, but rather, I take breaks.  When I take breaks, I let the images lie on top of one another and I look at them 'softly'.  I find that when I do this, immediately after I fudge (I have to figure out a new word for that), that the two images together are particularly bright.  It's amazingly bright.

It's weird.  When I focus both of the images together, they appear to exist in two different layers.  If you're familiar with using Photoshop, you'll know what I mean.  One layer is clearly on top of another.  But in my case, while I know that the visual input is on different layers, I don't know which is on top of which.

Anyway, things are going great.  When I look around now, I notice that the double images are getting closer to one another.  They're now very close.  It's hard to imagine that I'm not very close to achieving my goals.  I just keep doing what I'm doing.  I can't be much more than a month away.  Let's see... I'm now at session #53... if I reach my goals by session #100, I will be very happy.  And that's a very conservative estimate.

Saccades went splendidly.  They were the best yet!!!   Yes, they're still getting better.  Eventually--pahh--it's just hard to believe that I've gotten to this point and that I may get to the point at which there's no correction required when I jump from one target to another.  I just wonder what that's going to be like.  But anyway... this session was like--there was no real effort required to move to the bottom right.  There was a minimal amount of lag, and I'm jumping to the target with less and less requirement for correction.  I just wonder where I'm going to be in a week's time.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

#52 session

It was a pretty good session.  In the beginning, the sharp double images were pretty far away.  But as the time went on, they got closer.  This seems to happen with most of my VT sessions.  Then when I start a fresh new session they're far away again.  Most likely, however, the double images are getting closer.   I am noticing improvement in my vision, it seems, almost every day.  Things begin to appear differently--more stereo-like.

Saccades went really well.  When I saccade to the bottom right, it's like there's no effort needed to bring my eye over there.  The only aspect which needs improvement is the lazy eye's accuracy.

I may have mentioned in previous entries that I've been taking pictures of my eyes roughly every day so that when I'm done, I can string all of the photos together in a timeline so that I can watch the alignment fix itself as time goes on.  I think that when I look at the photo timeline, I'll notice a spurt of improvement at around the time that I started implementing fudging in my light tube regimen.  I took a picture last night, and from what I could see, the hypertropia looks significantly better than it ever had before.  We'll see.

Monday, July 29, 2013

#51 session

It's a pretty good session.  There does seem to be progress with the two clear images coming closer to one another.

Saccades went very well.  They went probably the best yet.  They're just really really quick now.  It's like there's no lag when I go to the extreme bottom right; however, the accuracy is still not yet perfect. But progress is undeniable.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

#50 session

Today I swapped out the filters for the magenta Alpha Delta filters.  They were much brighter than I remembered them the previous time around.  I slept really well last night, and there does seem to be some difference from the previous night; the images are able to get closer to one another before the fixing image gets blurry.  This is a positive indicator of progress.  

Also, the saccades appear to be their best yet.  Stereopsis may be very near.

#49 session

Today was interesting.  I started my day early, did the light tube exercises, and made my way down to Austin, TX, where I will now be residing.  The light tube exercises were nothing notable, although I think I underperformed since I was tired.   As I drove for 12 hours, I noticed significant changes in my vision.  The power is increasing.  I still have a ways to go, but it's exciting.

I got to the new place, unpacked most of my stuff, and ate, worked out a bit, and showered, and then did more light tube exercises.  Looking into the light tube and doing the fudging, the distance between the images at which I was able to keep both images clear hadnt noticeably changed since yesterday--of course, that would be a ridiculous expectation.  However, when I looked about the place, things definitely appear differently.  This new incorporation to my exercises is definitely accelerating change.  Just how much it's accelerating change is something that we'll have to see over the coming week.

Friday, July 26, 2013

#48 session

Holy crap.  I think I'm onto something.

Yesterday and today I refined my 'fudging' method.  What I do now is I fixate on the green circle with my normal eye and drift the lazy eye image to the right so that it crosses over.  This means that the lazy eye is actually moving to the left so that if someone looked at me with a camera the lazy eye would appear exo.  As the lazy-eye image crosses over, I notice that the fixing image gets sharper.  When I move the lazy-eye image closer to the normal-eye image, it gets duller and more out of focus.  This is reliable.  So what I do is I tell myself that the fixing image is to remain sharp no matter what and then I slowly bring the lazy-eye image closer to the fixing-eye image.  When I do this, the fixing-eye image wants to get out of focus, but I resist it.

So that's sort of a new exercise that I'm doing.  I try to keep the fixing image sharp, and I move the lazy-eye image closer and back away.  It's near impossible to keep the lazy-eye image on top of the fixing-eye image while keeping both sharp.  It is extremely strenuous.  But with concentration, I can get both of the images close to one another while keeping both sharp.

It reminds me a bit of the kind of strenuousness that I encountered on the first day of light tube exercises.  After my first session, I could not reproduce the same pain and stress.  I think of that first session as a primer that broke the seal and allowed me to fix hypertropia.  I imagine what will happen now is that as time goes on, and with practice, I'll be able to continually get both of the images closer to one another while keeping them sharp.  Eventually both images will be fully accommodated while fusing.  I suppose at that point I will be fixed?  Again, fuck if I know.  This whole journey for me can be very well represented by the scene in the movie ET in which ET follows the trail of M&Ms that Elliott leaves out for him.  Is the trail of M&Ms going to lead me to nirvana?  I don't know... but CANDY.

I'll tell you one thing.  My vision does seem to be improving.  Once I started refining my fudging method, the progress seems to have accelerated.  When I went out for a walk last night, I noticed that diverging was significantly easier than before.  Also, when I was playing the Battlefield 3 campaign in stereo for the fourth time last night, I noticed significantly more visual information coming in on the left-hand side.  There was a bit of 'whoa'.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

#47 session

God damn...

Another session.  It was pretty much the same as the previous session.  It was strenuous, but not as bad.   I thought I had noticed something yesterday but I wasn't able to reproduce something.  Basically what I did was I changed my vergence in a controlled way so that the double images moved closer and farther away and then I observed the sharpness of each of the bright green circles.  Yesterday it seemed as though the sharpness of one of the circles changed as I moved them.  This would lend credence to the idea that vergence and accommodation occur in a single reflex.  As you change vergence, accommodation changes in accordance.

Basically what happened is I was able to get both of the circles sharp when they were far away from one another, but when I moved them on top of one another one of them got out of focus.  So what I did was I moved them back away from one another so that they would get back into focus.  It's weird because I've learned how to control each of these mechanical actions consciously to an extent--the accommodation of each eye in isolation along with vergence.   So I could get both of them sharp, and then, while trying to keep them both sharp, I move them closer to one another--this is what I call 'fudging'--because I'm forcing my accommodation vergence reflex to do something that it doesn't want to do.  But the hope is that by forcing this to occur that the reflex can be calibrated to work as it should--to fuse the images and have them both be sharp simultaneously.  Is this the correct thing to do?  Fuck if I know.  Also, fuck if that information exists anywhere.

One of the things that I noticed after I did this exercise yesterday is that when I switched over immediately to saccades, I couldn't get the monkeys into focus when I stared at them.  That changed a bit as the exercise progressed.

Last night when I went to bed something popped out at me.  I'm not sure.  Vision does seem to be improving.  One week at a time.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

#46 session

This light tube session was actually very strenuous--it's funny how it changes from day to day.  Perhaps it's because each day the suppression is less, and that means that the brain engages the eye more, so that fighting the hypertropia becomes more of a chore.

Regardless, vision does seem to be improving as I look about the world.  It's like as the lazy eye moves around, it's carrying larger chunks of visual input with it.  I imagine what will happen is that those chunks of visual input will get larger and larger until it takes up my entire visual field at which point it fuses with the input of the normal eye.

In my quest, there's a recurring theme that keeps popping up for me.  It is this.  As I continue vision therapy and as I make progress with vision therapy, I find myself continually confronted with new choices for how I use my eyes.  This is particularly true if you're perceptive and you're continually looking for these choices to present themselves.  This happened to me yesterday.  As I was doing saccades I noticed that the double images were getting closer to one another--which is an indicator of progress since eventually the double images should be on top of one another at all times.  That's what fusing is.  Normally what happens is I saccade to the target with my normal eye and then let the lazy-eye image drift to the target.  Often, because the saccades are so fast, and because my eyes flit from one side of the screen to another, it's too quick for my brain to properly engage the lazy eye image to jump on target so the only image that reaches consciousness is that of the normal-eye image.

Well lately it occurred to me that this has to change.  That is not the way that a binocularly normal person does saccades.  So I'm putting in special effort to make it so that the images of both eyes reach consciousness as quickly as possible once they saccade to target.

I have the feeling that the reason why this is all taking so long is because there are a lot of things in the background that are being worked on.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

#45 session

Today the light tube was effortless.  So were the saccades.  The saccades were just about the best they'd ever been.  It may be another month and a half until I have stereoscopic vision.  I'm fine tuning away.

I'm noticing probably the lowest amount of suppression yet.  It's just getting very obvious.

Monday, July 22, 2013

#44 session

Today's session went well.  It was very strenuous, fighting against the hypertropia.  The saccades went splendidly as well.

Things are still moving forward, it appears.  Also, today when I was at work, I noticed that suppression seems to be stripping away in a pretty obvious way.  A concern that I have is whether or not the double images are going to be perfectly accommodated.

I recently heard about a new method for treating strabismus which I find particularly interesting.  Here is the link.

Researchers found a way to quantify suppression--and their method is amazingly clever.  Basically they give each eye different input.  The normal eye is given input which shows dots moving about randomly.  The lazy eye is given input which shows dots moving together in a straight line.  If the lazy eye is suppressing, it should be very difficult for the person to see the dots moving in a straight line.  So to fix that, the contrast of the lazy eye input is bumped up--increasing the power of the signal relative to the noise input going to the other eye--until the brain notices it.  The threshold at which the contrast of the linear-moving dots allows the subject to notice the linear-moving dots is what the researchers call unity, and they show that it is a reliable measure of suppression.

With practice, the brain is able to notice the linear-moving dots against the background with less and less contrast, until the contrast matches that of the noisy randomly moving dots.  At that point, the eyes should have parity with one another.  One of the guys who participated in this study developed stereopsis in five fucking weeks!!!!  You can see why this has piqued my interest.

So this seems to be the best conceivable way to get rid of suppression.  But the paper doesn't address eye movement which is a little worrying to me.  If you have both eyes fully powered on, and you don't have full control, that means you could have have some severe suicide-inducing diplopia.

I may try to make a program that does something to model what the paper described sometime in the future, but for now syntonics seems to be working great.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

#43 session

Today I feel great.  I'm well rested and I feel great.

Today was the first day with the light green Mu Delta filters for this go around.  It does appear quite a bit different from how it looked from last month.  It was astonishingly clear and bright.  It's surprising how different the clarity looks compared to the dark red filters.   It was easy.  There wasn't much fighting against the hypertropia compared to the Alpha Omega filters this week.  It was pleasant.

The saccades might have been the best yet.  Here goes another week.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

#42 session

One week at a time.  This seems to have been a good week.  I have one more session with the dark red Alpha Omega filters.  This whole week the fighting against the hypertropia seems to have come back.  It's again become very strenuous to make the images one. 

The saccades have improved quite a bit.  Overall, everything's improved quite a bit.  The main thing that I've noticed is not how I do the exercises, but rather, how the world looks as I go about my day.  Things are improving. 

Just a quick note about something I've noticed when doing the light tube exercises.  There are two ways that I can go about looking at the light.  One is by trying to look at it 'softly'.  This, I think, lowers the suppression, because when I look at things softly the lazy-eye image appears to be brighter.  The other way that I can look at the double images is by trying to laser focus my vision on both eyes simultaneously--trying to get both of the images in perfect focus--accommodating for both.  The idea for the first is to break through the suppression; the idea of the second is to get accommodation for both eyes in sync.  I'm not sure exactly which I want--well, I want both.  So I've been alternating between both gazes. 

I'm really curious to see what kind of impact this has on my anomalous correspondence.  I was talking with Lynn Gehl the other day and she was telling me about how the faux fovea can actually move.  I'm hoping this happens.  I'm hoping the part of the retina that the brain thinks is the fovea moves on top of the real fovea, and the suppression goes away, and I am able to have super sharp vision with both eyes as evolution intended.

One week at a time.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

#41 session

Today was a good eye day.

Light tube exercises in the morning and evening fought against the hypertropia quite a bit.  After about ten minutes or so the fighting becomes less and less noticeable.  In the evening I noticed that the accommodation out-of-sync problem seems to be diminishing.  I've been getting these quick glimpses and insights during the day as to what is ahead of me.  It's astonishing to think about how good vision can be.

The saccades were particularly good this evening.  They might have been the best yet.

Today while walking around the building and comporting myself as usual at work I noticed that vision is changing.  Things are beginning to appear differently.  There's more information coming in.  It goes to show how fast progress is occurring that I notice changes in my vision every day.  That, or how sensitive I've become to changes in my vision.  I prefer to think the former.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

#40 session

It's weird.  I'm fighting hypertropia a lot these days when I look into the light tube.  The last few sessions were like this.  There was a lot of compensation for hypertropia as well as the new out of sync accommodation thing.  Things are changing, that's for sure.

Saccades went alright.  They seem to be not quite as good as some of the previous, because the lazy eye tracking is a little slow on the extremes.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

#39 session

Changes in the light tube exercises weren't that noticeable this time around.  I am just focusing as much as possible as making both of the images as similar as possible.  The lazy-eye image is still blurry a bit.

What was different was the saccades.  I had drank a little earlier yesterday evening (around four beers) so I was expecting the exercises to suffer.  Granted, the buzz had already passed.  But the saccades were significantly better than any other session prior.  Like I predicted a few entries ago, it's around every three or four days that I will experience a session that is unequivocally better than any other previous session.  So again, in around three or four days from now, I expect to have another session that is unquestionably better than any previous session.

My vision is still getting better and I am noticing changes as I go about my day, especially as the day goes on and afternoon approaches.  I really want this to be over.  But at the same time I think I will be a little sad when it's over, because I'm so accustomed to constant friction and adversity, and this constant pestering condition always on the forefront of my mind.  It's almost become a companion.  But I'm sure that I won't miss it when it's gone.

I just did my light tube session for the night, and I actually fought against quite a bit of hypertropia.  It's probably fatigue.  But things go up and down.

Monday, July 15, 2013

#38 session

The exercises weren't particularly different today.  I have been focusing a lot on accommodation, which is a big shift.  I don't have to spend so much energy on fixing hypertropia.  I know that I am still  compensating for hypertropia, but it's a lot less, and that means there's more energy for other things.  So it's sort of like a sliding scale.  It's a beautiful thing, because the light tube sort of allows you to fix multiple things while doing the same activity roughly.  You're always looking at filtered light, but what you do with your mind determines what happens.

What was different today is my vision.  It like... I can tell that things look differently.  I can't quantify it, but I can tell that I am seeing more.  Anyway.  Nothing else interesting to say.  I am off to do more exercises.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

#37 session

Yesterday I finished the whole prescription of doing one filter per week for all four filters.  Today I am starting over again with the dark red Alpha Omega filters.

Immediately, I remembered how dark and deep the red is.  It's sort of pleasant.  The hypertropia revealed itself, although it wasn't hard to correct at all.  The one thing that had my attention is the accommodation being out of sync.  With the Alpha Omega filters today, this was particularly noticeable.  The lazy-eye image was particularly blurry.  I worked hard to fudge it and get accommodation in both eyes in sync with one another.  Accommodation may be the last piece of the puzzle.

The saccades went well.  There was nothing noticeable.  It will probably be a few more sessions until I'm able to see more improvement.  One week at a time.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

#36 session

As far as the light tube is concerned, this was quite easy.  Now that the effort needed to overcome my vertical misalignment is now almost negligible, I'm putting my focus on making the double images equivalent to one another: increasing the power of the lazy-eye image and trying to put them into clear focus simultaneously.  It's sort of hard to do.  It's almost like when I get the lazy-eye image into focus the other normal-eye image goes out of focus a bit.  So fudging it can take some effort.  It's interesting that as I progress my focus shifts to other aspects of vision.  This seems to be incontrovertible evidence that things are moving forward, leaving aside my subjective experience with improved vision.

The saccades went extremely well.  I slept like 11 hours last night because I slept like crap all week, because of the new job schedule.  This good sleep is probably why they went so well.  Moving my eyes to the extremes was easier than ever before.

It's moving along.  I find that it's helpful to not take vision therapy one day at a time, but instead, to take it one week at a time.  I always think to myself 'I wonder what things are going to look like one week from now.' because now noticeable improvement is something that I can now rely upon.  Even though the progress is so extremely fast, it's difficult to notice it on a day to day basis.  But on a week to week basis, it's different.  So every week I come back to the question: 'is there an overall improvement over last week?'.  Now that I've hit upon an effective regiment, the answer is always an emphatic Yes.  This, I find, is a good way to maintain a good morale.

Friday, July 12, 2013

#35 session

This session, like the previous session, was easy.  I think they're probably going to stay easy now, which is remarkable.  If I'm guessing right, what I think this means is that antisuppression is going to now kick into high gear.  This is because since now I don't have to spend so much energy on correction, there's a lot left for other functions of vision.   My guess is that the light is going to get brighter and brighter.

It's been almost a week with the green filters, and I've seen massive progress.  The stereo effects when I play XCOM are getting very powerful, and I'm noticing that I'm getting stereo effects with increasingly distant objects.  Another thing I'm noticing is that the double images that I get as a result of my diplopia are getting closer together, even when I look to my right which is when the distance between the double images is typically the greatest.  Generally when I want to avoid diplopia and have both images sit properly on top of one another, I have to point my eyes to the left.  So when I go to theaters, I generally try to sit on the right side, so that I have to turn my eyes to the left.  But this requirement seems to be diminishing.

I thought that the magenta was going to be the most powerful because they were the most stressful.  But the different color filters do seem to have a real purpose.  The prescription keeps alternating from one week red, one week green.  Perhaps this is like Monday legs, Tuesday chest, Wednesday shoulders, etc.  The idea is that you're giving laser-like focus on building innervation from each nervous system for a week.  Then you switch nervous systems and give the other a rest.  You take turns.

My vision has definitely changed quite a bit in this week.  It is good.

Saccades went well.  There was nothing notably different about them today.  They are tiring.  They get more accurate around the eight minute mark.  Some days are better than others, but it does seem that roughly every three or four days I will have a session that's better than any other previous session.  So things are going extremely well so far.  I am sanguine.  It is also Friday.  I have to say that it has been an emotional rollercoaster.  I feel like a chick saying that, but in interest of full disclosure, it's true.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

#34 session

These entries are probably going to be more brief from now on because I started my job and I don't have time to write it down in the morning so I go by memory later on in the evening.

This morning was was easier than any other session in memory.  The correction was very easy, and it seems as though that I'm now making micro-corrections.  There is still some driftage.  Well, I'll stop and explain what I mean by that.  Basically my brain doesn't yet have full control over the lazy eye and the consequence of that is that the lazy-eye image drifts around constantly, whereas the normal-eye image is rock solid.  I have pretty good control over the lazy-eye image, but I cannot prevent the drifting.  But what seems to be happening is that my control is getting better and the lazy-eye image is drifting less wantonly.

It does seem that the light box exercises keep alternating between easy and strenuous.  God damn, I can't wait for this to be over.  It's hard for me to imagine that I won't reach my goals, but there still is that anxiety.

Oh yeah, saccades were good.  They were about the same as yesterday.  The changes are becoming very noticeable.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

#33 session

Today was my first day on the job so I guess I had some nerves and so I literally had zero hours of sleep last night.  But I did do my exercises right after breakfast.

It was very work-intensive, and the hypertropia fought hard against me for the first ten minutes or so.  The saccades afterward were the best they'd yet been.  They're not yet perfect, but in the areas except for the extremes, they land almost exactly on target for both eyes.  Things are moving along.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

#32 session

Holy crap these Mu Epsilon filters make a big difference.  Two weeks for the magenta filters is definitely way overkill.  They were screwing up my sleep really bad, and I think that's why my saccades were starting to get worse.

Now working with these filters, I find that I sleep really, really well instead of very poorly.  I'm pretty sure this has had an impact on my exercises.  Perhaps it's the fact that I'm better rested, or because the new filters prime innervation with the parasympathetic nervous system, or both.

There was some fighting against the hypertropia for about the first ten minutes, but it quelled down a bit after that.  The saccades were fast and easy.  They're not yet 100% accurate.  I think that will only happen once my lazy eye's ability is on par with the normal eye.  That may be another month or two.

I'm definitely farther along than I ever have been.  The suppression is now much less than ever before, but that's bringing to light just how strong the suppression was, and it's possible that I still have a ways to go.  Again, it's hard to know that one is suppressing because the brain is so proficient at filling in gaps.  But as the lazy eye's ability continually creeps up on the ability of the normal eye, it becomes more and more obvious how unequal they are.  I'm getting a better and better idea of what it's going to be like when they are finally on par with one another.  It's pretty awesome.  Also, sleeping is awesome.

Monday, July 8, 2013

#31 session

Yep.  Things are still going well.  The hypertropia almost completely gone and it's extremely easy to correct when looking into the light tube.  The only way I know that I have it is by looking at myself in the mirror.  When I pitch my head downward and pitch my eyes upward to make eye contact with myself I can see a little bit of hypertropia left.  I did a Google Hangout with Michael yesterday and he said that he noticed a cosmetic difference.

Since I changed filters, the light tube exercises have been very easy.  They seem to have a sedating effect on me, unlike the magenta, which jacks me up.  I've been sleeping significantly better and more since I made the filter swap.  I probably shouldn't have done the full two weeks of magenta filters.  It's probably best to just stick to the prescription.

It's funny.  I'd been hearing about different studies about strabismus lately, and I've been trying to get involved.  One of the screeners for one of the studies asked me for more background information about my strabismus.  I told her about how I was born with crossed eyes and how I had three surgeries before the age of six.  She said that because I have infantile strabismus that I wouldn't be a candidate for vision therapy.

Wait--what?  If infantile strabismus invalidates you as a candidate why did my vision therapist from two and a half years ago agree to 'help' me?  The more I learn, the more it seems that there's a lot of disagreement among optometrists and vision therapists about nearly everything around the topic of treating strabismus.  It goes to show, you can't take anyone's word for this crap.  Whom can you trust?  Man, it's frustrating.

I believe a big factor that is responsible for the dishonesty that is seen in the field is that there are high stakes involved.  These people spend a lot of time and money on their education, building up their reputations, and networking with their cohorts.  Put yourself in their position for a moment.  You've finally finished your education, built a good coterie of professional relationships, and started a business.  Now, all of a sudden there are reports of people all over the world who have fixed their strabismus and trained themselves to see in stereo, often with the help of specialists.  Well, you're a specialist too, right?  You've taken a few classes on strabismus, right?  Now imagine that someone who has strabismus approaches you and asks whether you can help him.  Are you going to say no?  If you do, how would that reflect on you?  So the result is that a lot of people who are not qualified to treat these people agree to be their vision therapist.

This type of behavior pervades a lot of organizations.  I've seen it a lot in my corporate jobs.  People who are not up to the task agree to take the job, and when it's clear that they're not able to do it, they do a lot of dancing, and they exhibit a lot of shady behavior, and they do their best sweep the fuckups under the carpet.  This is especially dangerous when it applies to someone in power, because the behavior has a trickle down effect and quickly becomes culture.  The organization then rots from the inside.  I've seen it over and over again in various degrees.  This is why corruption and incompetence go together hand in hand.

It's just something to look out for.  Be careful about whom you trust.  A lot of these people may not know as much as they let on.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

#30 session

I finally swapped to the dark green Mu Epsilon filters, and I have to say that it's a relief.  Staring into those magenta filters day after day really messes with you.

It was the easiest session I'd yet had.  The hypertropia was almost imperceptible, and the correction was very easy.  Also, the deep, dark green was soothing.  The time seemed to go by much more quickly.

The saccades went very well.  Leaping to the extremes was effortless.  Whether it's to do with the everyday vagaries of performance or if it has to do with the new filters is something that I would like to know.  I do seem to recall reading that different filters can be used depending on whether one has exo or esotropia.  Maybe the dark green filters are good for fixing esotropia, and thus, allowing my eyes to diverge more so that the lazy eye can more easily reach the extremes.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

#29 session

This session was alright--there was nothing notable about it.  It does seem like the saccades are going a little backwards, a little harder, particularly at the bottom right and bottom left extremes.  It's probably because my vision is better later in the day and I'm still waking up.  I expect to perhaps see some changes today, because I finally caught up on my sleep.  I slept about nine hours.

I definitely noticed changes last night when I was staring into the light tube.  The exercise is still a lot of work, even though the hypertropia is almost gone.  This is because I have a lot more control over the 'lazy eye' and any hypertropia that's there is getting pushed out.  It's now fighting a losing battle.  I notice that the lazy eye image is getting a lot more detailed, as well.  Little pieces of dust and hairs are becoming noticeable on the frosted lens.  It was different from how I had seen it before.

I had talked about this probably ten sessions ago about one of the things that I had noticed.  This is one of the beautiful things about light tube exercises.  The stressfulness\exhaustion factor remains roughly the same regardless of what stage of progress you're in.  Granted, some days are easier than others.  The first day was just about unbearable for me.  But the reason it stays at about the same level of stressfulness is because initially you have a high level of misalignment that you're fighting.  This makes it difficult.  But your brain isn't engaging the eye that much.  This makes it easier.  As you progress and your eyes are in the final stages of aligning themselves you would think that fixing any detectable misalignment would be easy because there's much less to correct.  But because there's less correction to be made, the brain is much more actively engaging the lazy eye.  So this makes it harder.  The result is that the difficultly remains roughly the same regardless of where you're at in terms of progress.  This means that you're in the Goldilocks Zone the whole freaking time, which is a thing of beauty.  This is ideally where you should be.  Fred Brock would have shat himself if he'd known about the light tube.

Friday, July 5, 2013

My regimen

I don't do syntonics exclusively.  So I feel that I should mention all of the things that I currently do with my eyes.
  • I stare into the light tube for 40 minutes a day.  I do 20 minutes after I eat breakfast, and 20 minutes an hour or two before I go to bed.  This, I believe, is the exercise that's doing most of the lifting.  It is by far, more effective than any other exercise that I've done.  It may do other things as well, but in my case, it's worked as an eye-straightener and antisuppressive.
  • I do saccades for 12 minutes at a time, immediately after I finish staring into the light tube.  I go to this site and I increase the size of my browser's rendering so that the monkeys jump around the entire real-estate of my 22" monitor, and I saccade to where they go.  The purpose here is to build eye control and to stretch the lazy eye's ability to reach the very extremes.  The idea is that if my eyes can hit the extremes with relative ease, everything else in the middle with work itself out.  Being able to hit targets, in turn, allows the brain to turn on the lazy eye because there's less visual conflict if both eyes can land on the same target (remember that visual conflict is what causes suppression in the first place).  So I believe saccades and staring into the light tube are natural complements. 
  • I play video games in sterescopic 3d with my nVidia 3d Vision kit.  Lately I've been playing XCOM.  I find that this has a few benefits: one, it engages my binocular depth neurons more powerfully than when I look out at the real world; two, it gives me a psychological benefit.  Seeing the 3d reminds me that I'm making headway and I'm moving in the right direction.
  • I go for walks.  The benefit here is to give the eyes a break from looking at things that are nearby.  Walking around for an hour or longer and looking out at infinity relaxes my eyes, and reminds them that they need to be able to diverge as well.  Almost always, when I come back from a walk, I find that things look crisper, and my eyes feel better. 
I do a lot of crap.  

#28 session

Today and last night's sessions were some of the most work-intensive yet.  The lazy eye light is still getting more robust and permanent and although it is still soft, as I said before, I can fudge it and make it almost as sharp as the other non-lazy eye light.

Progress is still occurring rapidly, and last night in particular I noticed the changes when playing XCOM.  The simplest way to put it is that the stereo effects are gradually getting more and more powerful as the brain turns the other eye on.  Things seem much more invasive, and up close and personal.  The scary thing is that even with as powerful as these effects are right now, I know that they're nowhere near where they're going to be, because even with the stereo effects, I still have diplopia, which means the brain isn't yet fusing.  As I progress, I feel as though I get a better and better idea of what Heather and others mean when they say that gaining stereopsis is overwhelming.

Saccades were good, considering how bad my sleep was last night.  Jumping to the bottom right was easier than it was yesterday.   Jumping to the other places was pretty easy, although they weren't perfect.  I expect that I'll see improvement in the next few sessions.

I guess there is something else I want to talk about.  It's how strabismus relates to mental and emotional health.  A few months ago I joined a Facebook group that's centered around vision therapy.  It's a group of about 15 people, about eight or nine of whom are active members.  There was recently an eccentric young man named Matan, who joined the group and started asking the group personal questions about whether any members of the group have psychological issues.  I shied away because the questions were too personal.  But others were less bashful.  Before I knew it, everyone had confessed to having had anxiety, depression, and mood problems for all their lives.  This would apply to me as well.

There was a whole discussion about how these psychological issues might relate to strabismus and vision problems.  Could it be a coincidence that we're all strabismic and also a bunch of sad basketcases?  One has to be careful.  It's true that both of my parents have a long history of depression and neither are strabismic or stereoblind, so at least for me it's possible that vision has nothing to do with it.  It is known that these psychological problems have a large genetic component.

But anyway, vision is a huge part of the human animal and if it's very significantly impaired, then it seems likely that there will be a lot of potential side effects.  Sort of like--let's say that a person has hypertension and extreme lethargy at certain times of the day.   Let's also say that the person is 500 lbs.  A doctor worth his salt won't give him hypertension medication and Adderall and call it a day.  He will tell him to lose weight or he's going to die.  If the person is 500 lbs and he's having any problem at all, it's the weight.  That may be a bad analogy.  But the idea is that if something about you is very abnormal, the body's imbalances will potentially express themselves in many different ways.

The visual cortex is a pretty big part of the brain, and I believe that's largely because our vision is very good.  Humans evolved to constantly process two streams of high-resolution visual input in 3d.   All of our different systems evolved with each other, so they're going to have a tight relationship with one another.  If one system is significantly weakened, it seems likely that it will affect other systems.

It seems likely to me that there should be a relationship between the strabismus and psychological issues, especially considering how tightly connected thinking and vision are.  I know that there are a number of studies currently going on with strabismus.  Maybe they will shed light on this.  Perhaps they will show that there are more reasons to treat strabismus than simply better vision.  If I fix my vision, I may have something to say about this.  I'll be one of the relative few who's lived in both worlds.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

#27 session

It's mind-blowing to me that I haven't even been doing light tube exercises for a month.  It's been about 26 days and my progress has been amazing so far.  I didn't expect to be done after ten sessions like Heather.  She said that her vision had already improved a lot when she was doing sensory training.  So she sort of already had a head start.

Today's and last night's sessions were pretty strenuous workouts.  Some days it's very easy to lay each image on top of one another; other days it's not, per se, hard or painful, but work-intensive.  That was the case for today's exercise up until around the ten minute mark.  Then it was pretty easy and I was doing my best to make both of the images sharp.

The saccades were about par for how they've been going in the last three or four sessions.  But then about ten minutes in, they got significantly more accurate.  The only area now where the lazy eye doesn't jump right on target is the extreme bottom right.  It tries to get close, but there's a persistent need to push it over there, and it lazily drags itself the rest of the distance to the target.

Vision in general is improving.  I did mention in previous entries that I play video games with nVidia's 3d Vision kit.  For games that are programmed in a certain way you can play them in stereoscopic 3d.  Stereoscopic gaming has been around for a long time, but this particular kit is the first product that makes for a good experience.

Anyway, I play these games in between exercises, because I believe that the system stimulates the binocular neurons a lot.  One game I've been playing, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, is particularly good, especially with the cutscenes.  It's a turn-based game, so when you choose an action, you'll see a quick action sequence in which a camera follows one of your soldiers from close up.  Sometimes when you move in an explored area, you'll see a cutscene in which an alien pops up.  It's so big and so up close it makes me jump back.  Another awesome thing is the atmospheric effects, like things floating in the air, like ash or snow.  Every once in a while if I glimpse at it right, I will get a nice stereo effect.  These stereo effects seem to occur with greater frequency as I progress.  It's exciting to think that these small glimpses of stereo is how I will eventually see all of the time.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

#26 session

This was a pretty decent session.  It was easy.  The session that I did last night was actually a bit challenging in that there was a constant need for correction on the hypertropia.

The lazy-eye image is getting stronger and the softer edges is going more noticeable.  However, when I alternate to that eye, the soft edges go away.  It's like the visual system has a difficult time focusing on both simultaneously.  There are a few things that I think could be the cause for it, but what I'm thinking might be going on is that accommodation may be slightly out of sync between the two eyes.

I read in Fixing My Gaze that accommodation and vergence occur together in a single reflex.  When you look at something, mechanically, there are two things happening.  Each eye deforms the lens in order to change the optical power so that the image hits the retina right smack.  This is accommodation.  The closer the object is, the more convex the lens becomes (in mammals anyway).  The farther away the object is, the less convex the lens becomes.  The most common problems with accommodation are known as hyperopia and myopia, which are better known as farsightedness and nearsightedness.  With hyperopia the image lands right before the retina.  With myopia the image lands behind the retina.

The other thing that happens when you look at an object is that both eyeballs point themselves directly at the object.  This is called vergence.  When the eyes move inward, it's convergence.  When they move outward, it's divergence.

Both of these mechanical actions happen together in a single reflex.   So if you have accommodation problems with one eye, it can prevent you from being able to properly point both of your eyes at the same spot in space.  Or it could be the case that neither of your eyes has problems with accommodation, but instead, accommodation of each eye is out of sync with one another--this could understandably happen if you've never properly used both of your eyes together in your entire life.

If you've had strabismus all your life and start working on fixing it, you're going to find that as you familiarize yourself with your equipment that it is very rusty.  You'll find a lot of quirks as a result of disuse.

I'm going to go ahead and guess this is what's going on.  I do find that I can sort of fudge it though.  I can consciously control the lazy eye's accommodation so that both images are clear, at least temporarily.  It is stressful and unsustainable to do for a duration.  This may be the right thing to do, and through time, I may be able to adjust the way the reflex wants to work.

This is definitely going to be the last week that I'm going to use the magenta filters.  It's too stressful on the body.  I think it's interfering with my sleep.  On Sunday, I'll move to the next set of filters (dark green), and when that's done, I'll start over again.

Saccades were great.  They're still getting better.  As I said previously, it's just fine tuning now.  But it's the fine tuning which is going to finally allow me to fuse.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

#25 session

Nothing notable here.  Today's session seems to have been the same as the previous session.  I think progress is going to be perceived now as spurts.

The exercise didn't seem different from yesterday.  But my perception of the world does seem to be changing.  My visual field seems to be expanding, like I can notice more on both the left and right sides without having to move my head.  Things are sharper and I'm noticing edges more.

Saccades, again, were fast, but not particularly accurate.  As time went on the accuracy improved.  It would really suck if I got to the point where I just about had stereopsis and then I plateaued to never continue progressing.

Monday, July 1, 2013

#24 session

Wow.  It's still getting better.  The light tube was actually more strenuous today than yesterday, but that could be because I slept crappily.  The hypertropia was being corrected for.  But it the lazy eye image is continually getting brighter, and more noticeable.  I can notice how the edges of the circle for the left eye are softer than the edges of the circle for the normal eye.  I just wonder how it's going to eventually look.  But I'm not going to worry about it.  For now, I'm making fast progress.

The saccades were frighteningly fast.  Initially they were so fast that weren't accurate.  It was around the seven minute mark that I was able to make them land properly.  At that point, they were, again, the best they'd ever been.  Progress is happening rapidly.